Q & A:

Question: Golf Full Swing Shots

At what level of player should someone start shaping shots...draws, fades, etc.?

C.S. - Canada


Thank you for sending in such a great question regarding golf full swing shots. To shape or not to shape that is the question. Personally, I believe in shape. I think the benefits far outweigh the hazards of trying to shots with shape. For instance, everyone would be a better player if they fully understood the ball flight laws. These are the laws that determine what your golf ball will do when your club face makes contact. Believe it or not there are only 9 possibilities, not including the height of the shot. Look for a lesson to be added to the Learn the Basics section on the ball flights laws very soon.

So now the question becomes, how do you shape shots? There are two fundamental ways to hit these golf full swing shots. The beauty of both methods is that you do not need to change your swing.  It is all about how you change your grip and setup for the shot.

The first method is changing how you grip your club, while the second is changing your body alignment in your setup. As a teacher and student of the game I have tried both methods. I have found that the grip change is the easiest and quickest method to learn but the body alignment version tends to be more versatile and over time will make you a better player.


The grip method is simply weakening your grip when you want to hit a fade and strengthening when you want to hit a draw. If you go to the grip lesson (Golf Grip Lesson) you will see that for a standard grip the lines formed by your thumb and hand should point towards your right shoulder (right handed player). In order to weaken your grip to hit a fade, you take you grip so that those same lines point towards your chin or even a little towards your left shoulder. The concept is that when you make your downswing your hands will rotate back to their standard position at impact. This will cause your club face to be open at impact and thus imparting fade spin on the ball. If your need to draw the ball then take your grip but have the lines point outside your right shoulder.  At impact when your hands rotate back to their standard position your club face will be closed and therefore will impart draw spin on the ball.

The setup position for this method does not change, however you must remember to aim to the left or right of your target as the ball flight will be straight and then curve back to the target. Remember there is no change to your swing, it is all in how you grip and setup for these golf full swing shots.


The second method keeps the grip the same but changes how you setup for the shot. The key to these shots is to use a consistent routine, much like it is described in the full swing setup lesson. This lesson can be found at...

Driver Setup Lesson

The first step is to always put your club down first. This is key in setting up for your shot. You always want to set your club so that it is pointing at your target. The target is where you want your ball to end up. The next step is to setup up your body.  Fundamentally we set our body so that it is parallel to our target line. In order to shape shots we need to change from this parallel setup.

In order to hit a fade we want to set our feet, hips and shoulders so they are pointing away from your target line. In order to hit a draw we want to set our feet, hips and shoulders so that they point towards your target line.

The key to this setup is to make sure that your club face is still facing your target.  By doing this you are ensuring that the club face will be open or closed at impact depending on the golf full swing shot you are executing. Players using this technique will get into trouble by allowing their club face to follow their body alignment instead of staying with the target. This causes them to be aligned to the left or right but hit the dreaded straight ball, when they were playing for shape. Trouble!!

As for the swing...just swing. If your arms are relaxed then your backswing should always follow your body alignment. Therefore if you swing along your body alignment and your club face is pointing at your target you should be able to impart the spin you need to shape the ball to you target. The ball flight should start to the left or right of your target and then spin back to the target. The ball will always start in the direction of your clubs path, which should be the same as your body alignment. The angle of the club face determines the amount of shape in your shot. By using this method you can increase or decrease the amount of shape by the amount you aim your body alignment to the left or right of the target while always keeping your club face pointed at your end target.

A word of caution when deciding which golf full swing shot to play given a particular situation...unless absolutely necessary, NEVER aim your body alignment towards trouble. This means you should avoid aiming your body line over a water hazard, into trees or at a sand trap. This is because of the dreaded straight ball. You don't want a straight shot going into trouble. You are trying to increase your landing area by shaping shots, don't shrink it by aiming at trouble.

Please look for a full sequential still picture lesson to be added to the site for shaping shots.

Thank you for your great question. I hope you found the answer for these golf full swing shots helpful. If you have anymore questions please send them in by clicking below.

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Kris at free-golf-lessons.com

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